The Legal Process from a Behavioral Perspective

By Stuart S. Nagel | Go to book overview

CHAPTER 12
Correlation Analysis Compared: Civil Liberty Cases

This chapter illustrates and systematically compares three methods for quantitatively predicting case outcomes. The three methods are correlation,1 regression,2 and discriminant analysis,3 all of which involve standard social science research techniques. Two prior chapters 4 have generated requests for a study dealing with the problems involved in handling a larger number of cases and predictive variables. The present chapter is also designed to provide such a study. It does not presuppose that the reader has read the earlier chapters, although such a reading might help to clarify further some of the points made here. The cases used to illustrate the methods consist of 149 civil liberties cases decided by the United States Supreme Court from 1956 through 1960. The list of cases was obtained from a series of articles by Sidney Ulmer and Glendon Schubert.5 Technical aspects have been eliminated from the

____________________
The author is very grateful to Dorothy Anna Shipley for allowing him to use some of the data she compiled for her bachelor's thesis, Predictive Generalizations in Civil Liberties Cases, August 1963 (in the University of Illinois Library). Thanks are also owed to John Gilbert, statistical consultant at the Behavioral Sciences Center, for his helpful comments.
1
For further details than this chapter provides on correlation analysis, see Nagel, Applying Correlation Analysis to Case Predictions, 42 TEXAS L. REV.1006 ( 1964) (chap. 11 supra); and Nagel, Using Simple Calculations To Predict Judicial Decisions, PRAC. LAW. ( March 1961) at 68 (chap. 10 supra).
2
For further details on regression analysis, see BLALOCK, SOCIAL STATISTICS273- 358 ( 1960); GUILFORD, FUNDAMENTAL STATISTICS IN PSYCHOLOGY AND EDUCATION 365-72, 390-434 ( 1956).
3
For further details on discriminant analysis, see COOLEY & LOHNES, MULTI- VARIATE PROCEDURES FOR THE BEHAVIORAL SCIENCES116-33 ( 1962); TINTNER, ECONOMETRICS95-102 ( 1952).
4
See the articles cited in note 1 supra.
5
Schubert, The 1960 Term of the Supreme Court -- A Psychological Analysis, 56 AM. POL. SCI. REV.90, 98 ( 1962); Ulmer, A Note on Attitudinal Consistency in the United State Supreme Court, 22 INDIAN J. POL. SCI.195, 201 ( 1961); Ulmer, Scaling Judicial Cases, 4 AM. BEHAV. SCI.31, 32 ( April 1961); Ulmer, The Analysis of Behavior Patterns on the United States Supreme Court, 22 J. POL.629, 649 ( 1960); and Ulmer, Supreme Court Behavior and Civil Rights, 13 W. POL. Q.288, 297-99 ( 1960).

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